When we saw Chef Stephen Fraser from Lanzerac Wine Estate’s hot cross bun recipe video, we couldn’t help but ask him about the popularity of the bun. He also shared his tips on giving your buns an edge and his favourite hot cross bun memory.
What makes hot cross buns so popular, even beyond the Easter?
It's a sweet and aromatic spiced bread bun that's versatile both in what you can do with it or how it can be served. It's great for a snack, or to toast for breakfast or lunch, and can be served with many items, from butter or cheese, bacon and maple syrup, pickled fish or even make a dessert by turning it into a bread and butter pudding.
Do you have a favourite hot cross bun memory?
I remember when I was growing up in Wales, my bedroom used to be above the kitchen, and I would wake up on Easter morning with the smell of the spices. I would run down the staircase knowing my mother had just taken out a tray of freshly baked hot cross buns from the oven. I would enjoy them when they were still warm and thickly smeared with butter and a cup of tea.
Is there something different that you use to either make your buns or serve them, that gives them an edge?
I’ve worked with a few different recipes and played around a little with them until I was really happy with them. I feel the main thing that makes them different is the combination and amount of spices I put in the mix.
Chef Stephen Fraser’s Hot Cross Buns
For the buns:
1 tbsp (9g) dry yeast
100g castor sugar
650g bread flour
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
240g sultanas or raisins
Zest of 1-2 oranges
50g melted butter
1 large egg
For the cross:
1/2 cup flour
5 tbsp water
For the glaze:
1 tbsp apricot jam
2 tsp water
Put the yeast along with 2 tsp of sugar in a mixing bowl. Heat the milk until its lukewarm, and add to the mixing bowl, leave for 5 to 10 mins until the mix begins to bubble. Add in all the remaining ingredients starting with the flour. And mix together.
Lightly dust a work surface with flour and knead by hand for 10 mins or until smooth. Leave the dough in a bowl, cover with a damp (clean) tea towel and place in a warm place to rise double in size. This will take anywhere between 30mins to 1 1/2 hours.
Line your baking tray with baking paper. Remove the tea towel and press the dough to deflate it.
Dust the work surface with flour, place dough on the surface, knead lightly and shape into a log. Cut into 12 equal piece.
Push flat with your palm and gather into a ball with your fingers. Finish by rolling to make sure it's a round smooth ball. Place the buns smooth side up on the tray in 4 rows of 3. Cover with lightly oiled cling wrap. Place the tray in a warm place and leave for 30-45 mins until the dough has risen almost double in size.
About 20 mins in, preheat the oven to 180’c.
To make the crosses
Mix the flour with the water
until its a runny paste. Spoon the mix into a piping bag. Remove the cling wrap and pipe crosses on top of the buns
Bake the buns for 20-23 mins or until deep golden brown in colour.
To make the glaze
Put the jam and the water in a small microwavable dish and microwave for 30 sec to a minute.
When the buns are ready remove for the oven and while they are hot brush over the glaze.
Place the buns on a cooling rack and leave to cool for 15 mins before serving.